Journal entries, mantic reverie, and formerly discarded cartomancy art crawl from the walls in this original compilation by both my father (CJ Freeman,) and myself.
Rummaging through piles of art left to me by CJ when he passed, I was overwhelmed by possibilities. So much of it was drawings and line art that a coloring book seemed obvious. A theme for it all felt impossible. So I just started photocopying like crazy, and sifting through it all to see what wanted to go together - what wanted to emerge.
One thing that motivated me during the process is a lot of CJ's art has not yet been published. He had big throw away piles. So I really, really wanted to squeeze as much of that into the new book as possible. Another thing about CJ's art is, although it is all intended for divination, there are so many different styles.
I remember one day visiting in him in his apartment on 9th Street in Denver, and arrived to find him eager to show me the two latest drawings for our (Playing Card Oracles) project. They were sleeker and better defined than what had come before, almost like someone else had drawn them. A new energy had come through. So CJ, being obsessive as he was, began re-illustrating the cards he had already drawn, leaving behind the jewels previous.
It has always been clear to me that Dad was bringing through different intelligences via his illustrative work. You have to understand that communication with astral entities or other spirits and voices were as common for Dad as the fried egg on his plate for breakfast. He had that wiring. As a self taught artist, his drawings and paintings for cards always struck me as super sophisticated - odd as they were.
I think it is interesting that Dad was a left hander, and the way he held his drawing implements always intrigued me. I'd never seen anyone hold a pencil like that. His arm and hand were coiled up, in a way that looked unbelievably awkward. Who could even hold a pencil like that let alone draw with it? From that position, it almost seemed as if he was writing and drawing backwards.
He always said, "I like to let my hand move and see what comes out." He liked to start with the feet of a figure, and build it up from there. Once again, everything backwards. Rarely was any drawing planned out, although sometimes I would try and explain to him an image I had in my own mind for a card, and then he would draw it for me. His illustrative work was always a guiding force for us in deciphering what ordinary playing cards wanted to tell us.
So back to "The Dream Diaries," pulling together different components that seemed to want to be together it finally struck me that the underlying theme was dreams, and how the mixing of dreams, physical reality, and the mystic symbolism inherent in playing cards create something beautiful.
Just copying CJ's illustrative works and putting them in a book fell conspicuously short, and it seemed obvious to make the book a collaborative venture. So you'll find images hacked and re-imagined - plus journal pages, poetry and story have been added to give a fullness to the book and a peek into the greater process of bringing to life such a dream world.
As stated in the beginning of The Playing Card Oracles, "Treasure maps are always torn in two, because it's the bringing together that is the treasure," or something along those lines :-)) So Dad and I are still collaborating, even with one of us residing beyond the veil. How appropriate :-)